Finance officer suspended

County of Columbus

Developing story/UPDATED

County officials escorted finance officer Bobbie Faircloth out of the building after last night’s county commissioners meeting.
Faircloth was allowed to remove her personal belongings from her office.
The action came after an executive session for personnel. Allen Thompson of the Thompson Accounting firm told the board earlier in the meeting that the number of discrepancies in the most recent audit required the assistance of an outside accounting firm.
Sources said a CPA firm from Raleigh is coming in to assist in correcting the county’s books, which will likely take five to six months.
Commission Chair Ricky Bullard said the problems in the county’s accounts “go back two or three years.” He did not say which departments were specifically affected, but did note that “several” could be impacted. He was not specific about what the problems were, only that they were have been going on for some time.

“We’ve been asked to observe the personnel rules, and I have to stay with that,” Bullard said.
Faircloth is still a county employee, Bullard said.

Jay Leatherman of Elizabethtown has been hired as interim finance officer for the county, Bullard said. Leatherman’s name and email had replaced Faircloth’s contact information on the county website before noon today. Leatherman is a retired finance officer, Bullard said.

Bullard would not confirm that the books of any specific department were under scrutiny, but Animal Control is rumored to be one of the problem areas.
Sheriff Jody Greene is currently serving as interim animal control supervisor.
During a presentation earlier in the meeting, Greene noted that the shelter has taken in “no money” that his staff has been able to locate. The shelter collects adoption fees for pets as well as fines and rabies vaccinations.
County officials have not fulfilled a request for deposits for the shelter from January of this year.


This is a developing story. 

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Jefferson Weaver is the managing editor of columbuscountynews.com and news director for WTXY radio. He can be reached at 910.632.4965, or by email at jeffersonweaver@columbuscountynews.com.